Grit Versus Talent

December 19, 2019


What separates folks who succeed from those who don’t isn’t a genius-level IQ or innate talent. In fact, it’s grit. Grit means working hard even when you feel you’re stuck. Grit is dedication to a job in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Grit is putting in innumerable hours to master a new skill.

Grit demands resilience, practice and perseverance—and it's a powerful predictor of success. How does one develop grit? Read on.

Set goals

People with grit set specific, measurable goals, along with a plan for reaching them and a strategy to check progress.

Develop optimism

An optimistic outlook helps us focus on our goals despite challenges—and even failures. Optimists are tough, upbeat and extremely motivated; pessimists are likely to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble.

Welcome constructive criticism

Successful people embrace feedback; they realize it will help them improve. They’re also open new ideas and experiences that may lead to business and personal breakthroughs.

Seek out mentors

A manager in your field can offer valuable feedback, point you in directions you hadn’t thought of, as well as help to make working and learning exciting, so your job becomes something you’re eager to return to, day in and day out. 

Shut down negative thoughts

If your inner dialog is all about why you can’t, won’t or are unable to succeed, train yourself to stop. Write down recent successes, no matter how small. Consider your strengths and how you can use them to improve a weak area.

Pursue your passions

What aspects of your job do you enjoy? Whenever possible, focus on developing them. This will boost both your productivity and positive energy.

Take responsibility

People with grit don’t wait around for others to make things better—they step up themselves. They work to get a project off the ground or over the finish line and are responsible for their own improvement. They sign up for classes, attend seminars, network and take action.

Find purpose

This is perhaps the most important component of grit. When your work has meaning beyond a paycheck … when you’re involved in something bigger than just you: helping your team, your organization, your family, your community, or society at large—you’ve found a purpose that can compel you to give your work your all.  

Grit means always saying: “It’s good, but how could it be even better next time?”

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